The Rangers used their 33rd-round pick Wednesday to draft University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor, who was paralyzed after an outfield collision in March and is considered unlikely to walk again.
Taylor fractured two vertebrae in his spine in a collision with teammate Zach Cone three months ago. Cone was the Rangers’ second-round pick, and it looks like the team decided it’d be a nice gesture to select Taylor afterwards.
The paralysis has affected all of Taylor’s extremities, so he is considered a tetraplegic. He has some use of his arms, but no feeling in his legs or fingers. Still, he is able to use his hands again and even play video games. Since his spinal cord wasn’t severed, the hope is that his condition will continue improve with time.
Taylor hit .335 with a team-best .442 OBP for the Bulldogs in 2010. He was playing in Georgia’s 11th game of this season when he was injured.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.